Co-trainer Wayne Hawkes was understandably thrilled with the results produced by classy sprinter Chautauqua over the Spring Racing Carnival and is confident the four-year-old will be in his element in a race like the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on March 14th.
Unable to secure much of a consistent run of form over the 2014 Autumn Carnival, Chautauqua undoubtedly found career-best condition upon returning to competition in spring; jogging home to take out each of the Group 3 Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) and Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) before running a close second to Terravista in the talent-filled Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) most recently on November 8th.
Revealing the son of Encosta De Lago is in terrific order ahead of his autumn return, Hawkes is bullish about Chautauqua’s chances of Group 1 success this season and believes the conditions of the Newmarket Handicap will play directly into his strengths.
“We were very easy on him in the spring, he only had a couple of runs in the spring which everyone saw and he only missed by the proverbial bee’s you-know-what in the Group 1 (Darley Classic),” Hawkes told Racing Ahead.
“As Dad (John Hawkes) said he did everything bar win the prize and he’s back in the stable and he’s in Melbourne and he’s looking good getting ready for a nice autumn and a race like the Newmarket will be right up his ally.”
Currently charged with saddling two of the country’s four leading short distance specialists, Hawkes said the team will do everything they can not to have Chautauqua meet stable mate Deep Field competitively this season.
“I’d prefer Chautauqua to go one way and Deep Field to go another so we can try and win as many races as possible for our clients,” he said.
“I can tell you JR Hawkes hates quinelling a race and very rarely do we ever do that, he reckons the victories cost the second horse the win, we have always tried to split our horses.
“Unless of course it’s a Caulfield Guineas or a Golden Slipper, a grand final if they ended up meeting in the TJ (TJ Smith Stakes, April 4th) well so be it but if you could separate them well you try and win as many as you can.”
Securing four wins and as many minor places over just ten starts so far, Chautauqua is currently rated a $5 second-favourite for success in the 2015 T.J. Smith Stake at Ladbrokes Australia.